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Windows 2000 Disk Quotas





by Marcin Policht

The January edition of Windows 2000 Magazine featured a thorough review of
Quota-Management tools. The products presented – WQuinn’s QuotaAdvisor 4.1,
Northern’s Quota Server 5.0c, NTP Software’s Quota Sentinel, and Tool4ever’s
SpaceGuard 4.2 – offer an attractive alternative to limited functionality
provided with built-in quota management in Windows 2000. However, they don’t
come cheap. If you decide that their price does not fit in your budget but you
still need to curb down insatiable appetite of your disk-space hungry users, you
might have no other choice than go with the Windows 2000 freebie. There are a
couple of things to keep in mind, though. The January edition of Windows 2000 Magazine featured a thorough review of Quota-Management tools. The products presented – WQuinn’s QuotaAdvisor 4.1, Northern’s Quota Server 5.0c, NTP Software’s Quota Sentinel, and Tool4ever’s SpaceGuard 4.2 – offer an attractive alternative to limited functionality provided with built-in quota management in Windows 2000…

Quotas
are a feature of the version 5 of NTFS, introduced with Windows 2000. Although I
doubt that anyone is planning on using FAT or FAT32 for user data volumes, there
are implications of the fact that the quota information resides in the file
system, rather than registry. For example, if you decide to move a disk to
another system, quota get transferred with it. 

In
addition, you should be aware of the relationship between quotas and other NTFS
related features, such as compression, ownership, and sparse files. 

Quotas
are assigned based on file ownership. If you need to retrieve data from backups
for a user to a volume which is set with quotas, make sure you restore it to the
final destination with the proper ownership. If you decide to copy it to the
user’s data folder using an administrative or backup operator’s account, this
account will become an owner, and files will no longer count towards user’s
space utilization.

You
also should be careful when deciding about the placement of spool folder and
user profile folders. Since in both cases files generated are assigned user’s
ownership, they will count towards the space utilization limits.

Disk
compression has no effect on calculating space utilization. Sparse files use
quotas equal to their total allocated size.

Error
message (“Disk full”) generated, when imposing quotas might lead to
confusion among users.

Quotas
are volume based, which prevents you from applying them on a folder level.

Quotas
cannot be assigned to groups, only to individual accounts. This might become a
problem if you want to customize quota entries for members of different groups.

If you implement soft quotas (which do not enforce quota limits) and want to keep
track of the messages in the event logs, that generate informational event log
entries (not warnings).

Also,
you can not simply remove a user from the quota list as long as there are
entries containing references to that users SID. You will have to either take
ownership of the user’s files, move them to a different volume, or delete them.

Some
of the quota settings can be implemented via Group Policies, however
customization (such as setting quotas to specific NTFS partitions or applying quota limits on user by user basis) have to be
applied locally. 

And
finally, remember that there is a slight performance penalty comparing with
accessing file system with no quotas.

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